The Department of Education and Science allows students in Ireland to apply to be excused from studying Irish in post-primary school.
The circumstances in which a student will be given this exemption are very limited. Where a student has lived abroad or does not speak English, they may be exempted. Students with certain disabilities may also be exempted.
Where entry to a third-level course requires a student to have a certain mark in Irish at the Leaving Certificate examination, students who have been exempted from the study of Irish may also be exempted from this requirement. This is a matter for each individual college. Generally, if a student has had an exemption during post-primary education, he/she is likely to be exempted from Irish as a college entry requirement. The student applying for a third-level course through the Central Applications Office (CAO) should send a copy of the exemption certificate with his/her CAO Application Form.
The parent/guardian must attach documentary evidence of the student's age, and previous schooling if it is relevant to the reason for the exemption being sought.
The school authorities then prepare a full report on the student.
Where the exemption is sought on the grounds of a disability, the parent or guardian must supply reports from a qualified psychologist or from an appropriate medical specialist.
Where an exemption is granted, a certificate of exemption is sent to the school. This signed by the school principal. It is the responsibility of the school principal to tell the parent/student about the result of the application.
Source and copyright Irish Government Website, Oasis http://www.oasis.gov.ie/education